As the need for more effective treatment for co-occurring disorders continues to rise, treatments are evolving to fulfill these needs. A National Comorbidity Survey found that around half of the American adult population with a lifetime mental health disorder also suffered from an alcohol or drug disorder as well and vice versa.

When someone suffers from both a substance abuse disorder, or SUD, and a mental health disorder, they are considered to have co-occurring disorders. While it can vary which came first, the substance abuse or the mental illness, research seems to indicate that treating these disorders simultaneously produces the most successful results and the lowest rates of relapse.

Integrated Treatment vs. More Traditional Models

Over the years, several different treatment plans have been available to treat co-occurring, disorders. These treatment plans include:

  • Traditional
  • Sequential
  • Parallel
  • Integrated

Traditional methods kept the substance abuse treatment and mental health treatment completely separate, with different medical teams attending to each disorder. These medical staff members didn’t communicate with each other and were often at odds, offering conflicting treatments.

Sequential treatment is similar in that both disorders are treated separately with two separate treatment teams. As the name implies, sequential treatment treats the disorders in sequence by naming one of the disorders the primary and treating it first. This often leads to one of the disorders being overlooked or not treated at all.

Parallel treatment treats each disorder at the same time, but again with separate medical teams who are not in communication or collusion with each other. Each of these three types of treatment often leaves patients in a lurch with little or no comprehensive help, as often people are not eligible for multiple services at once.

Integrated treatment takes these models a step further by combining treatment plans into one model and treating both disorders simultaneously. Treating staff members work together, generally in one location, as a cohesive unit striving for the same end results. An individualized plan is set up for each unique case, and different therapy models, medications if necessary, and other tools will be employed to best treat both disorders without compromising one or the other.

The Right Treatment Makes All the Difference

It can be difficult to find services that treat both substance abuse disorders and mental health disorders in a dual diagnosis setting. Finding the right treatment is important to regulating symptoms and preventing relapse.

Integrated treatment shows promising results with patients in a Foundations Recovery Network (FRN) treatment program displaying positive outcomes 65 percent of the time when followed up with a year later. Severe symptoms are most affected with these psychological symptoms lessened by integrated treatment.

Integrated treatment facilities offer trained medical personnel who work together to achieve specific results. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is often used to help people learn what certain events or stimuli cause certain symptoms or cravings. By understanding that a substance use disorder and mental health disorder are complexly intertwined, trained medical professionals can offer the best complementary treatment options available. Several Drug and Alcohol Research Team (DART) studies show that patients receiving integrated care for both disorders concurrently were more likely to remain abstinent.

Black Bear Lodge is part of the FRN family of treatment centers and specializes in dual diagnosis treatment. Our dedication to discovering the root cause of each disorder and treating each person individually helps ensure greater success in recovery. Reach out to us today to learn more.